Cal State Fullerton (5-7) at UNLV (8-4)
Saturday, December 28, 2013 | 7:00 PM
Thomas & Mack Center • Las Vegas, Nev.
UNLV leads: 32-7
in Las Vegas: UNLV leads 14-2
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ON TAP: Currently on a two-game winning streak, Cal State Fullerton plays its final two non-conference games on the road at UNLV (Saturday) and at Tulsa (Jan. 4).
PROMOTIONS - YOUTH NIGHT: Cal State Fullerton returns to Titan Gym on Thursday Jan. 9, hosting UC Riverside in the first Big West Conference game of the season. The game will also be Youth Night at Titan Gym as all youth ages 12 and under will receive free admission to Titan Gym.
TICKETS: Single-game tickets for all home games can be purchased online at www.FullertonTitans.com as well as in person or by calling the Cal State Fullerton Athletics Ticket Office at (657) 278-2783 from the hours of 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. On gamedays, tickets can be purchased one hour prior to tip-off at the Titan Gym ticket box office.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow @FullertonHoops for updates during the 2013-14 season.
SCOUTING THE REBELS: UNLV enters Saturday's contest with a record of 8-4. including an 5-3 mark at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. UNLV, on a five-game winning streak, is led by a quartet of Rebels that average double figures: Roscoe Smith (12.8 ppg), Bryce Dejean-Jones (11.9 ppg), Khem Birch (11.8 ppg) and Kevin Olekaibe (10.5 ppg). UNLV averages 74.8 points per game and shoots at a clip of .457. The Rebels have played two opponents on Cal State Fullerton's schedule, falling by the score of 86-65 to UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 12, and defeating Santa Clara, 92-71, last Sunday.
HEAD-TO-HEAD VS. UNLV: Cal State Fullerton trails the all-time series against UNLV, 7-32. The Titans have defeated the Rebels just twice on the road in 16 tries. Saturday's game will mark the first meeting between the programs since 1996 when UNLV was part of the Big West Conference. Fullerton's last game against UNLV as well as its last visit to Las Vegas resulted in a 68-59 loss on Dec. 17, 1996. The Titans last defeated UNLV back at Titan Gym, 64-61, on Jan. 18, 1996. Fullerton's last victory in Las Vegas against UNLV was an 82-80 win over the Rebels on Dec. 17, 1994 in conference action.
HISTORY LESSON: Probably the most memorable game in the history of the UNLV-Cal State Fullerton series came on Feb. 24, 1983 when Cal State Fullerton defeated unbeaten and No. 1 UNLV, 86-78, before a record overflow crowd of 5,015 that stormed Titan Gym floor at the buzzer.
HEAD-TO-HEAD VS. MOUNTAIN WEST: UNLV is the second and final team from the Mountain West Conference that Cal State Fullerton is scheduled to play in the regular season. Fullerton traveled to San Jose State on Nov. 23, suffering an 81-59 loss. All-time, the Titans hold a .344 winning percentage (93-177) against current members of the Mountain West Conference, including a mark of 24-104 on the road.
ROSTER STATUS: Cal State Fullerton currently has 16 student-athletes listed on its roster, with 12 players having seen game action thus far in 2013-14. Corey Walker and Moses Morgan must redshirt the season due to NCAA transfer rules. Freshman guard Hidde Vos and junior guard James Douglas are expected to redshirt the season.
EARLY SEASON NOTES: Head coach Dedrique Taylor earned his first win as a head coach after the Titans defeated Montana State, 84-55, in Bozeman, Mont., on Nov. 9…Taylor is the fifth Titan head coach to win his first game at Cal State Fullerton…Cal State Fullerton won its season opener against a Division I opponent for the first time since a 75-67 win at BYU on Nov. 22, 1996 (the 2007-08 season opener was played against CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners as the program was in transition to Div. I status)…Cal State Fullerton's 29-point victory at Montana State was its largest margin of victory on the road since an 81-50 win at Utah on Dec. 7, 2011... Fullerton has eclipsed 80 points on three occasions this season.
CURRENT NOTES: In last Saturday's win over Sacramento State, Cal State Fullerton used its fifth starting lineup of the year: Sheldon Blackwell, Michael Williams, Alex Harris, Chris Collins and Joe Boyd…Fullerton overcame a 10-point deficit against the Hornets in the win – the largest deficit the Titans have overcome this year…the Titans have won back-to-back games for the first time this season…Fullerton's 59-point total against Sacramento State marked its lowest in a win this year…the Titans are 4-0 when scoring over 78 points and shooting over 50 percent from the floor, and in the win over Sacramento State, for the first time Fullerton won a game this year scoring less than 60 points, shooting less than 50.0 percent from the floor and having less than three scorers reach double figures...Fullerton has also come back twice this season from halftime deficits to win: at Pepperdine (Dec. 4) and vs. Sacramento State (Dec. 21)...Michael Williams has scored in double figures in a team-leading 12 consecutive games. He has led the Titans in scoring in six of Fullerton's last eight games...Williams scored a game-high 24 points against Texas Southern (Dec. 15), which also marked a Titan season high. In addition, Williams' 18 second-half points were the most a Titan has scored in a single half this year, and his four made three-pointers also set a Titan season high...Alex Harris scored a season-high 21 points against the Tigers on Dec. 15 as the Titans had two players scoring 20 points or more in a game for the first time since March 9, 2013 vs. Cal Poly. Harris' nine made free throws were also a Titan season best as well as career high...Steve McClellan's 12-point, 10-rebound performance against Seattle (Dec. 7) marked the first Titan double-double of the season. In addition, McClellan's 12 rebounds are also a Titan season high...the Titans have not held a lead in a game four times this season.
IN THE BIG WEST: Entering the week, Cal State Fullerton's 24.5 defensive rebounds per game rank third in the Big West Conference...Michael Williams' average of 15.0 points per ranks seventh in the league, and his .735 free-throw percentage also rates seventh in the Big West, while his 1.92 three-pointers per game rank eighth...Steve McClellan's 2.42 offensive rebounds per game rank ninth in the Big West Conference.
MORE COMPARISONS: The Titans have outscored opponents 362-300 in the paint this year as well as holding an advantage in bench points (244-214), but trail opponents in second chance points (122-129) and points off turnovers (167-172). The Titans have shot 51.4 percent from the floor in their five wins. In losses, the Titans have made just 122 trips to the free-throw line, compared to 168 opportunities for opponents.
ROOKIES: On Nov. 29 at the DIRECTV Wooden Legacy, Fullerton suffered a 48-46 heartbreaking loss to Miami, which saw the Titans nearly erase a 17-point deficit. In that game, head coach Dedrique Taylor inserted freshmen Sheldon Blackwell and Joe Boyd into the starting lineup. Blackwell, a 6-foot-5 guard from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., is leading the Titans with 34 assists while averaging 6.4 points per game. Boyd, a 6-foot-9 forward from Scottsdale, Ariz., is averaging 4.4 ppg while adding 4.4 rebounds per game.
NEWCOMERS: Cal State Fullerton senior Michael Williams is playing his first year as a Titan after redshirting the 2012-13 season following a transfer from San Francisco.Williams has experienced immediate success, averaging a team-leading 15.0 points per game, scoring in double figures in 12 straight games and leading the Titans in scoring in six of their last eight.Fullerton has won three of its last four including two in a row, and during that stretch, Williams is averaging 16.8 points per game, shooting 46.2 percent from the floor while knocking down eight three-pointers and averaging 3.5 assists per game.
AIR TIME: Currently, Cal State Fullerton has 10 men's basketball games scheduled to be broadcast. Still ahead, Cal State Fullerton's game at UNLV will be broadcast on Cox 96 Las Vegas. In addition, the Titans' Jan. 16 game at UC Irvine has been scheduled for an ESPN3 broadcast.Fullerton's contest against UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 25 will be aired on Fox Sports Prime Ticket from Titan Gym. In addition, two Titan games are scheduled to be aired on ESPN3 starting on Thursday, Jan. 23 when the Titans host Cal Poly, as well as Fullerton's game against Hawai'i on Saturday, Feb. 15, from Titan Gym.
A NEW ERA BEGINS: Former Arizona State associate head men's basketball coach and long-time college assistant Dedrique Taylor was appointed the 11th men's basketball head coach in Cal State Fullerton history, Athletic Director Jim Donovan announced on April 3, 2013.
A NEW LOOK: Of the 16 players on Cal State Fullerton's roster, 10 had not suited up in a Cal State Fullerton uniform before the 2013-14 season.
REPLACING OFFENSE: Cal State Fullerton lost 60 percent of its scoring from last season with the departure of seniors Sammy Yeager (15.8 ppg), Kwame Vaughn (18.4 ppg) and D.J. Seeley (17.9 ppg).
TITANS IN THE NBA: Former Cal State Fullerton men's basketball player Josh Akognon became the 12th former Titan to appear in the NBA on April 10, 2013 playing four minutes and scoring two points to go with an assist for the Dallas Mavericks in their 102-91 loss to the Phoenix Suns at the American Airlines Center.Akognon, who played two seasons for Fullerton from 2007-09, became the first Titan to appear in an NBA game since Bobby Brown (2003-07) competed for the New Orleans Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers in the 2009-10 season.
2013 DIRECTV Wooden Legacy Attracts Record Crowds: With the attendance for the final four games of the 2013 DIRECTV Wooden Legacy being 6,007 for the competition at Honda Center on Dec. 1, the three-day event over Thanksgiving weekend attracted a record 14,982 fans for the in-season college basketball tournament near Disneyland.The Dec. 1 total of 6,007 was a single-day record The 2013 DIRECTV Wooden Legacy featured a Marquette vs. San Diego State championship game at Honda Center. Other schools in the event were Arizona State, Cal State Fullerton, College of Charleston, Creighton, George Washington and Miami.With the first four sessions of the 2013 DIRECTV Wooden Legacy being played November 28 and 29 at Titan Gym on the campus of Cal State Fullerton, the final four games were combined into one session at Honda Center. The two days of action at Titan Gym drew 3,831 on Thanksgiving Day and 5,144 on Nov. 29.The previous tournament attendance record for the three days of competition at the Anaheim Convention was 14,212 set in November 2009.